Title:
SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR FACILITATING COMPETITION
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Systems and methods for facilitating competition are provided. According to an embodiment of the present invention, competition is facilitated by combining competition results from competition-event-segments across competition events conducted at different event locations.



Inventors:
Powell, Steven J. (Penfield, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/767694
Publication Date:
12/25/2008
Filing Date:
06/25/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
700/91, 473/131
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
BLAISE, MALINA D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
David, Novais Patent Legal Staff A. (Eastman Kodak Company, 343 State Street, Rochester, NY, 14650-2201, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method for facilitating a competition, the method implemented at least in part by a computer system and comprising the steps of: identifying competition-event-segments from competition events held at different event locations, wherein the identified competition-event-segments do not include all competition-event-segments that make up any one of the competition events; identifying competition participants; identifying results for each of the competition participants in the identified competition-event-segments; combining the results for each of the competition participants across at least some of the identified competition-event-segments; and storing each competition participant's combined results in a computer-accessible memory system.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the competition participants are teams.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the competition participants are individuals.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the competition events span a competition season.

5. The method of claim 4, wherein the plurality of competition events are predetermined prior to the competition season.

6. The method of claim 1, wherein the competition events span multiple competition seasons.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein each of the competition events comprise a set of competition-event-segments, each set comprising a same number of competition-event-segments, wherein the identified competition-event-segments comprise a number of competition-event-segments equal to the same number, and wherein the combining results step combines the results for each of the competition participants across all of the identified competition-event-segments.

8. The method of claim 1, wherein each of the competition events comprise a set of competition-event-segments, each set comprising a same number of competition-event-segments, and wherein the combining results step combining the results for each of the competition participants across a subset of the identified competition-event-segments; and wherein the subset of the identified competition-event-segments comprises a number of competition-event-segments equal to the same number.

9. The method of claim 1, wherein at least two of the competition events occur at a same event location, and wherein at least two of the competition events occur at different event locations.

10. The method of claim 1, wherein the competition events are professionally sanctioned events.

11. The method of claim 1, wherein the combining step includes in its combining for each participant, results from a predetermined competition-event-segment from the competition-event segments.

12. The method of claim 1, wherein the combining step includes in its combining for each participant, results from a competition-event-segment from a predetermined competition event of the competition events.

13. The method of claim 1, wherein a plurality of the identified competition-event-segments are from one of the competition events.

14. The method of claim 1, wherein each of the identified competition-event-segments is from a different competition event.

15. The method of claim 1, wherein the plurality of competition events are predetermined prior to initiation of any of the competition events.

16. The method of claim 1, wherein the results of a participant include (a) results actually achieved by the participant in at least some of the events and (b) assigned results generated in lieu of actual results achieved by the participant in at least some of the events.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein at least some of the assigned results represent a penalty to the participant for not competing in the corresponding event(s).

18. The method of claim 16, wherein at least some of the assigned results indicate that the participant did not compete in the corresponding event(s).

19. The method of claim 1, further comprising the steps of: determining a winning participant from the plurality of participants based at least upon the combined results.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein if multiple participants include matching combined results, the determining step determines a winner at least by comparing results of the multiple participants in competition-event-segments from a predetermined subset of the competition-event-segments.

21. The method of claim 20, wherein the comparing results step includes comparing the competition-event-segments from the predetermined subset on a segment-by-segment basis in a predetermined sequence until a winner is determined.

22. The method of claim 19, wherein if multiple participants include matching combined results, the determining step determines a winner at least by comparing results of the multiple participants in competition-event-segments from a predetermined subset of the competition events.

23. The method of claim 22, wherein the comparing results step includes comparing the competition-event-segments from the predetermined subset on a segment-by-segment basis in a predetermined sequence until a winner is determined.

24. The method of claim 1, wherein the competition events are golf tournaments.

25. The method of claim 24, wherein at least some of the golf tournaments individually comprise multiple rounds of golf.

26. The method of claim 24, wherein the competition-event-segments are golf holes and the event locations are golf courses.

27. The method of claim 26, wherein the golf holes are signature holes or lowest handicap holes of their respective golf courses.

28. The method of claim 26, wherein each competition-event-segment is associated with a different competition event.

29. The method of claim 26, wherein a plurality of the identified competition-event-segments are from one of the competition events.

30. A method for facilitating a competition, the method implemented at least in part by a computer system and comprising the steps of: identifying competition-event-segments from competition events held at different event locations; identifying a plurality of competition participants; identifying results for each of the participants in at least some of the identified competition-event-segments; generating a scorecard for each of the plurality of participants exhibiting the participant's corresponding identified results; and storing the scorecard in a computer-accessible memory system.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to systems and methods for facilitating competition. In particular, this invention pertains to systems and methods for facilitating competition at least by combining competition results from competition-event-segments across multiple competition events conducted at different event locations.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Sports conventionally have been organized to evaluate success based on both an event-by-event basis and a season-long basis. For example, success in baseball is evaluated based on the number of baseball games (i.e., events) won across an entire baseball season. Teams with the most wins are rewarded with a chance to play in playoffs. In golf, players are evaluated based upon total prize money achieved from individual golf tournaments across an entire golf season.

While these conventional techniques for evaluating success of players or teams are fine, new ways for such players or teams to compete are always beneficial to and enjoyable for society.

SUMMARY

The above-described situation is addressed and a technical solution is achieved in the art by systems and methods for facilitating competition, according to various embodiments of the present invention. According to an embodiment of the present invention, competition-event-segments from competition events held at different event locations are identified. An example of a competition event is a golf tournament, and an example of a competition-event-segment, in this regard, is a golf hole played at a specific time during a golf tournament. In this example, therefore, different golf holes from different golf tournaments held at different locations may be identified.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the identified competition-event-segments include one or more of the event-segments from each of the identified competition events, so long as the identified event-segments do not include all competition-event-segments from all of the identified competition events. For example, the identified golf holes, according to an example implementation of this embodiment, do not include every golf hole from every identified competition event. Further, the identified competition-event-segments may include the same or a different number of competition-event-segments from each of the identified competition events. In the golf context, one golf hole may be identified from a first golf tournament, and two golf holes may be identified from a second golf tournament. Alternatively, one golf hole may be identified from each of the first golf tournament and the second golf tournament.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, competition participants are identified, and results for each of the competition participants for the identified competition-event-segments are determined. The competition participants may be teams or individuals. In the golf-context, a plurality of individual golfers may be identified, and results for each of the individual golfers may be determined for the identified golf holes.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the results for each of the competition participants across at least some of the identified competition-event-segments are combined, and each competition participant's combined results are stored in a computer-accessible memory system. In the golf context, results for each of the golfers across at least some of the identified golf holes from the various golf tournaments may be combined, and such combined results may be stored in a computer-accessible memory system.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, a winner may be determined from the plurality of competition participants based at least upon the combined results. If multiple participants are in a tie, a winner may be determined at least by comparing results of the multiple participants in competition-event-segments from a predetermined subset of the competition-event-segments. The comparing results step may include comparing the competition-event-segments from the predetermined subset on a segment-by-segment basis in a predetermined sequence until a winner is determined.

Accordingly, embodiments of the present invention allow competition participants to compete by posting results for competition-event-segments, such as one or more particular holes in a golf tournament, across multiple competition events, such as golf tournaments.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the competition events may span a competition season or may span multiple competition seasons. In addition or in the alternative, the plurality of competition events may be determined prior to a competition season, or prior to the initiation of any one of the competition events.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the number of identified competition-event-segments may equal the number of competition-event-segments in the competition events. For example, a round of golf has eighteen holes. In this instance, eighteen different holes across multiple golf tournaments may be selected for results calculations. In this case, a scoring system compatible with the native scoring system of the corresponding sport may be used.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the step of combining results may include in its combining for each participant, results from a predetermined competition-event-segment from the identified competition-event-segments. In this regard, particular competition-event-segments may be deemed ‘mandatory’ such that results from those particular event-segments are necessarily included in any results calculations.

To the extent that a competition participant fails to compete in one of the identified competition-event-segments, such participant may be assigned a penalty as their result for such competition-event-segment.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, either the identified results or the results used in the combining step may be formulated into a score card for presentation.

In addition to the embodiments described above, further embodiments will become apparent by reference to the drawings and by study of the following detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be more readily understood from the detailed description of exemplary embodiments presented below considered in conjunction with the attached drawings, of which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a system for facilitating competition, according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates a method for facilitating competition, according to an embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 3 illustrates some of the concepts described with respect to the method of FIG. 2, according to an embodiment of the present invention.

It is to be understood that the attached drawings are for purposes of illustrating the concepts of the invention and may not be to scale.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Embodiments of the present invention facilitate competition by combining competition results from competition-event-segments across competition events conducted at different event locations. For example, competition participants can compete by recording scores for particular competition-event-segments from different competition events occurring at different event locations. In the case of golf, players can compete in competition events such as golf tournaments. Scores from competition-event-segments, such as golf holes or groups of holes, from each of the golf tournaments can be used to facilitate competition amongst the tournament participants. Although this specification often refers to golf as an example for competition events, one skilled in the art will appreciate that the present invention applies to any competition event that can be divided into event-segments, such as baseball, hockey, tennis, motorcar racing, basketball, etc.

FIG. 1 illustrates a system for facilitating competition, according to an embodiment of the present invention. The system 100 includes a computer system 102, a user interface system 108, and a data storage system 104. The data storage system 104 and the user interface system 108 are communicatively connected to the computer system 102. The computer system 110 includes one or more computers communicatively connected that implement the processes of the various embodiments of the present invention, including the example process of FIG. 2 described herein.

The term “computer” is intended to include any data processing device, such as a desktop computer, a laptop computer, a mainframe computer, a personal digital assistant, a Blackberry™, or any other device for processing data, managing data, or handling data, whether implemented with electrical components, magnetic components, optical components, biological components, or otherwise. It should be noted that, unless otherwise explicitly noted or required by context, the word “or” is used in this specification in a non-exclusive sense.

The data storage system 104 is a computer-accessible memory system that includes one or more computer-accessible memories configured to store the information needed to execute the processes of the various embodiments of the present invention, including the example process of FIG. 2 described herein. The data-storage system 104 may be a distributed data-storage system including multiple computer-accessible memories communicatively connected to the computer system 102 via a plurality of computers or devices. On the other hand, the data storage system 104 need not be a distributed data-storage system and, consequently, may include one or more computer-accessible memories located within a single computer or device.

The phrase “computer-accessible memory” is intended to include any computer-accessible data storage device, whether volatile or nonvolatile, electronic, magnetic, optical, or otherwise, including but not limited to, floppy disks, hard disks, Compact Discs, DVDs, flash memories, ROMs, and RAMs.

The phrase “communicatively connected” is intended to include any type of connection, whether wired or wireless, between devices, computers, or programs in which data may be communicated. Further, the phrase “communicatively connected” is intended to include a connection between devices or programs within a single computer, a connection between devices or programs located in different computers, and a connection between devices not located in computers at all. In this regard, although the data storage system 104 is shown separately from the computer system 102, one skilled in the art will appreciate that the data storage system 104 may be stored completely or partially within the computer system 102.

The user interface system 108 may include a mouse, a keyboard, a display, or any device or combination of devices from which data is input to or output from the computer system 102. In this regard, the user interface system 108 could include one or more computers communicatively connected to the computer system 102 from which data is transmitted to or received from the computer system 102. Although shown separately, the user interface system 108 may actually be included as part of the computer system 102.

FIG. 2 illustrates a method for facilitating competition, according to an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 3 will be used to illustrate some of the concepts involved in the discussion of FIG. 2. At step 201, a plurality of competition events are identified. At least two of the competition events identified at step 201 occur at different event locations. In the example of FIG. 3, “competition event 1” 302 occurs at “event location 1” 306; “competition event 2” 303 occurs at “event location 2” 307; and “competition event 3” 304 occurs at “event location 3” 308. In the case of golf, competition events 302-304 may be separate golf tournaments, at least two of which occur at different event locations.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the events identified at step 201 may be professionally sanctioned events, such that an official organization associated with running or operating the identified events may identify such events as being official.

The events identified at step 201 may span a single competition season, such as that illustrated by “competition season” 305 in FIG. 3. Alternatively, the competition events identified at step 201 may be identified as spanning multiple competition seasons or, instead, a portion of a competition season. Also, the competition events identified at step 201 may be predetermined prior to initiation of any one of the identified competition events. For example, the competition events 302-304 in FIG. 3 may be identified prior to initiation of the competition season 305.

Once the competition events are identified at step 201, particular competition-event-segments of the identified competition events are identified at step 202. In the example of FIG. 3, each of the events 302-304 include competition-event-segments 309-311, 312-314, and 315-317, respectively. At step 202, less than all of the competition-event-segments of all of the competition events from step 201 are identified. In the example of FIG. 3, asterisks 318 indicate the competition-event-segments identified at step 202. In particular, the event-segment 310 from “competition event 1” 302, the event-segment 314 from “competition event 2” 303, and event-segments 315 and 317 from “competition event 3” are identified at step 202. In the golf context, the identified event-segments from step 202 may be signature holes or lowest handicapped holes of each corresponding golf tournament.

It should be noted that the event-segments identified at step 202 may be predetermined prior to initiation of any one of the competition events identified at step 201. However, one skilled in the art will appreciate that this arrangement is not required. Further, according to an embodiment of the present invention, some of the event-segments identified at step 202 may be predetermined to be mandatory, such that results from these event-segments must be included as part of a later results or scoring calculation. In the example of FIG. 3, segment 314 is indicated as being a ‘mandatory’ segment by the box 320 around the asterisk 318.

It can be seen from the example of FIG. 3 that four segments across three events may be identified at step 202. However, according to an embodiment of the present invention, the number of segments identified at step 202 may equal the number of segments within any one of the competition events identified at step 201. For example, if each of the competition events identified at step 201 have three event-segments each, the number of competition-event-segments identified at step 202 may be three, to equal the number of event-segments in each of the competition events.

However, the embodiment where the same number of event-segments at step 202 is identified as the number of event-segments of each competition event identified at step 201 requires that each of the competition events have the same number of event-segments. The example of FIG. 3 meets this requirement. In particular, the events 302-304 each include the same number of competition-event-segments, namely, three segments.

However, other embodiments of the invention do not have this requirement. For example, the competition events identified at step 201 may have differing numbers of competition-event-segments. These embodiments may be advantageous when the competition events (302-304, for example) are from different sports, each sport having events with a different number of event-segments. On the other hand, these other embodiments also may be advantageous when the competition events (302-304, for example) are from the same sport, but the events have different numbers of segments. To elaborate, the competition events 302-304 may be golf tournaments that include different numbers of rounds of golf. For example, a first golf tournament (i.e., competition event) may span a single round of golf with 18 holes (i.e., 18 event-segments). A second golf tournament may span two rounds of golf with a total of 36 holes (i.e., 36 event-segments). Further, these other embodiments also may be advantageous when the definition of event-segment changes from competition-event to competition-event. For example, a first golf tournament spanning a single round of golf may have event-segments defined as holes. Consequently, the first golf tournament has 18 event-segments. However, a second golf tournament spanning a single round of golf may have event-segments defined as 9-holes. Consequently, the second golf tournament has two event-segments. Accordingly, one skilled in the art will appreciate that the invention is not limited to any particular relationship between the number of event-segments across the competition events identified at step 201.

Returning to the example of FIG. 3, it should also be noted that two out of the three segments of “competition event 3” 304 are identified at step 202. However, according to other embodiments of the present invention, the same number of event-segments for each of the competition events from step 201 may be identified at step 202.

At step 204, competition participants may be identified. Such participants compete in at least one of the events identified at step 201. A competition participant may be an individual or a team. At step 206, results for each competition participant in the competition-event-segments identified at step 202 are identified. In the example of FIG. 3, the results are illustrated in a results table 326. In particular, the results for “competition participant 1” 322 are identified in the top row of the results table 326, and the results for “competition participant 2” 324 are identified in the bottom row of the results table 326. The results table 326 includes: results from event-segment 310 at table cells 327 and 331; results from event-segment 314 at table cells 328 and 332; results from event-segment 315 at table cells 329 and 333; and results from event-segment 317 at table cells 330 and 334.

The information from results table 326, or information derived therefrom, may be stored in a computer-accessible memory system, such as the data storage system 104, for later retrieval or display. Such information may, for example, may be used to generate a scorecard for the competition participants or others.

In the case where a competition participant does not compete in all or a portion of one of the identified event-segments, the results table 326 may indicate the participant's absence in the appropriate table cells, such as by having a penalty score recorded for the participant in the relevant table cells.

At step 208, the results from step 206 may be combined for each competition participant across at least some of the competition-event-segments identified at step 202. In the example of FIG. 3, a total of three event-segment-results (out of the four identified by the asterisk 318) are combined so as to match the number of event-segments present in each of the events 302-304. However, one skilled in the art will appreciate that there need not be a correlation between the number of results used in the combination step 208 and the number of event segments in each of the events 302-304. Further in this regard, one skilled in the art will appreciate that all or a subset of the results identified at step 206 may be used in the combination step 208.

At step 210, each competition participant's combined results calculated at step 208 may be stored in a computer-accessible memory system, such as the data storage system 104.

The example of FIG. 3 illustrates an example process of combining results to generate combined results 336 for “competition participant 1” 322 and combined results 338 for “competition participant 2” 324. In addition, in the example of FIG. 3, results from segment 314 are indicated as being a mandatory part of the combined results calculation step 208 and, therefore, such results are shown as being present as part of the results calculations 336, 338 as illustrated by reference numeral 344. Because four segments are included in the results table 326 and only three segments are included in the results calculations 336, 338 in this particular example, the best two results from the other three segments (327, 329, 330 for “competition participant 1” 322, and 331, 333, 334 for “competition participant 2” 324) are used as part of the results calculations 336, 338, as illustrated by reference numerals 346. In particular, the function 346 returns the best two out of the three results for each of the two competition participants 322, 324. Accordingly, the combination calculation at 336, 338 combines three out of the four results for each participant from the table 326.

The combination function 342 can be any technique for combining multiple values, such as averaging, weighted averaging, adding, etc. For example, in the case of averaging, the combination function 342 may average for “competition participant 1” 322, results 328 and the two best results from results 327, 329, 330. In the case of golf, the combining may be a summation. For example, “competition participant 1” 322 may have scored a “bogey” (or +1) on event-segment 327, a “bogey” (or +1) on event-segment 328, a “par” (or zero) on event-segment 329, and a “par” (or zero) on event-segment 329. Since the result of event-segment 328 is a mandatory result in this example, it must be included as part of the combined results calculation 336 at step 208. As for the other three event-segments 327, 329, 330, the best two results are included in the combined results calculation 336 in this example. Therefore, the combined result calculation 336 for “competition participant 1” includes results from event-segments 328, 329, and 330, because the result of event-segment 327 is worse than the results for event-segments 329 and 330. Accordingly, the combined result 336 for “competition participant 1” 322 is 1 ((1 from event segment 328) plus (0 from event segment 329) plus (0 from event segment 330)).

To continue this example, “competition participant 2” 324 may have scored a “par” (or zero) on event-segment 331, may have not attended the event where event-segment 332 took place, may have scored a “birdie” (or −1) on event-segment 333, and a “birdie” (or −1) on event-segment 334. Because “competition participant 2” did not attend the competition event where event-segment 332 took place, “competition participant 2” 324 may be assigned a penalty result of +2 for event-segment 332. Also, since the result of event-segment 328 is a mandatory result in this example, it must be included as part of the combined results calculation 338 at step 208. As for the other three event-segments 331, 333, 334, the best two results are included in the combined results calculation 338 in this example. Therefore, the combined result calculation 338 for “competition participant 2” 324 includes results from event-segments 332, 333, and 334, because the result of event-segment 331 is worse than the results for event-segments 333 and 334. Accordingly, the combined result 338 for “competition participant 2” 324 is 0 ((2 from event segment 328) plus (−1 from event segment 329) plus (−1 from event segment 330)).

According to an embodiment of the present invention, the results actually used as part of the combination calculations 336, 338 may be used to generate a scorecard stored in a computer-accessible memory system, such as the data storage system 104, for later retrieval or display. To continue the above-example, a scorecard for “competition participant 1” 322 may include results from event-segments 332, 333, and 334. Similarly, a scorecard for “competition participant 2” 324 may include results from event-segments 328, 329, and 330.

At step 212 a winning participant may be determined based at least upon the combined results calculated at step 210. To continue the above example, “competition participant 2” 324 may be deemed the winner because the combined result 338 for this participant was zero, which is a better result in golf than the combined result 336 of one for “competition participant 1” 322.

In the event that two participants are in a tie, according to an embodiment of the present invention, a tie breaking order 350 of evaluating individual event-segment results may be used. In particular, according to an embodiment of the present invention, participants that are in a tie can have their results compared from particular segments in a predetermined sequence. The first participant to have a better score on one of the segments may be deemed the winner.

In the example of FIG. 3, the results 328, 332 are compared first to see if there is a winner. If there is still a tie, the results from event-segments 330, 334 are compared to determine if there is a winner. If there is still a tie after comparing these results, the results from event-segments 329, 333 are compared to determine if there is a winner. If there is still no winner, the results at 327, 331 are compared to determine if there is a winner.

It is to be understood that the exemplary embodiments are merely illustrative of the present invention and that many variations of the above-described embodiments can be devised by one skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the invention. For example, the method 200 of FIG. 2 illustrates a particular ordering of steps. One skilled in the art, however, will appreciate that the invention is not limited to that particular ordering. For instance, FIG. 2 shows in step 204 that competition participants are identified after step 202 and before step 206. However, one skilled in the art will appreciate that competition participants may be identified at other points in the method 200. It is therefore intended that all such variations be included within the scope of the following claims and their equivalents.

PARTS LIST

  • 100 system
  • 102 computer system
  • 104 data storage system
  • 108 user interface system
  • 200 workflow
  • 201 step
  • 202 step
  • 204 step
  • 206 step
  • 208 step
  • 210 step
  • 212 step
  • S202 step
  • 302-304 competition events
  • 305 single competition season
  • 306-308 event locations
  • 309-311 competition-event-segments
  • 312-314 competition-event-segments
  • 315-317 competition-event-segments
  • 318 identified competition-event-segments from step 202
  • 320 box
  • 322 competition participant
  • 324 competition participant
  • 326 results table
  • 327 results calculation
  • 328 results calculation
  • 329 results calculation
  • 330 results calculation
  • 331 results calculation
  • 332 results calculation
  • 333 results calculation
  • 334 results calculation
  • 336 results calculation
  • 338 results calculation
  • 344 results calculation
  • 346 combination function
  • 350 tie breaker order